Work sucks, I know. 

Long hours, few days off, and severe crunch unfortunately go hand-in-hand with game development. The PR spin sells these poor working environments as “passionate people working hard to create labors of love” where “seeing all the joyous reactions from you, our fans, make all of this worth it.” Of note, neither of these quotes is from anyone specifically, but it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine any major game publisher using them. 

In a working world that’s been dramatically reshaped by COVID-19, though, we’ve seen a re-examination of workplace norms. Personally, I’m fortunate enough to have a job that lets me work from home. I’m not a game developer, however.

For many developers, an already taxing job was made doubly difficult in a work-from-home environment. Many have since returned to the office, which means once again facing 40+ hours of meetings that could 100% have been an email, as well as countless hours lost during the commute. And let’s not forget that COVID burnout is a very real thing.

So what Eidos-Montréal announced today is a breath of fresh air.

Eidos-Montréal - 4-day work week

They announced that they are transitioning to a four-day work week.

Yes! This initiative is another step towards the embodiment of the studio’s values, building a healthy, creative, and sustainable work environment for our employees. 

Currently, our various teams are working on the development of transition plans to ensure success and maintain the highest standards in the industry. In the next few weeks, the Montreal and Sherbrooke studios will be officially closed on Fridays, without changing the working conditions currently in place nor the salaries of employees, thus switching from the 40-hour week to 32-hour. 

The important thing here is that this is a 32-hour work week instead of simply switching to four 10-hour days, and employee salary will not be reduced to compensate for that.

Naturally, people are a bit skeptical of this news — which is exactly how we should react! On the surface, it seems like this is a positive move that can hopefully spark forward progress in the world of game development. But Eidos-Montréal needs to put up or shut up in terms of making real change in the industry. Otherwise, this is just another batch of PR speak to hide persisting issues rather than correcting them.

I’m all for positive change, but actions speak louder than words, as the saying goes. Let’s see where things go from here, and maybe hold off on celebrating until we’ve actually seen the impact of this rather than just hearing the message.

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